OUR VIEW: Pubic safety awards reminder of true valor

In a world where there seems to be an honor or trophy for everyone in the entertainment business, another awards ceremony seems needless. But the Valor Awards, put on each year by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, aren’t just any awards.

The awards recognize local law enforcement and public safety officials, with several honors handed out, including one called the Lifesaving Award. These aren’t spoken word Grammy’s we’re talking about, they are the exploits of honest-to-goodness, real life heroes.

These men and women don’t seek attention, but like Gwinnett police Sgt. Jeff Johnson said after Wednesday’s luncheon: “It’s nice to get recognized every once in a while.” But as much as these awards are for officers like Johnson, they also are for the rest of us, a reminder of the men and women who protect and serve Gwinnett County every day.

Many awards were presented during this week’s ceremony. But taking center stage were the firefighters, police officers and dispatchers who took part in last year’s incident when a Suwanee man took several Gwinnett firefighters hostage, triggering a SWAT standoff that ended with gunfire and, ultimately, the death of the hostage taker.

The people involved in that April 10 incident showed the true definition of valor. And like good heroes they weren’t worried about accolades. Said Sgt. Jason Teague, who fired the shot that killed hostage-taker Lauren Brown during the incident: “It’s not that I’m trying to be overly humble. You can ask … any of those guys. We’ll do it again in five minutes if we have to; we’ll do it a year from now. It’s what we do.”

We appreciate what they do. And we appreciate the Chamber for honoring them, reminding us of their value and valor.

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